Club connection: UNICEF

A new club meets Thursday mornings to discuss ways to benefit children in need, both in the community and around the world.

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Steven Yuan ‘19 had volunteered at the Veterans Affairs Hospital during past summers, but felt there was a lack of volunteering from other students.

“There are a lot of people at school who I feel would like to volunteer, but they don´t know how to or they don’t have the resources or they don’t have the time,” said Yuan. “So I decided it would be a good idea to make a club that sort of helps give back.”

Yuan began researching United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and brought the idea of starting a school chapter of the organization to a few of his peers.

“At first I thought it was really ambitious, and I wasn’t sure if it was actually going to happen or not,” said Grace Wang ’19, the club’s Outreach Officer. “But then as time went on, he got more serious about it, and the other board members got more serious about it.”

Although she had little background information on UNICEF, club adviser Darci Witthoft said she was on board as soon as Yuan pitched his idea.

“Because of who [Yuan] is, I was excited because I know that whatever he gets involved in he goes into it 100%,” she said. “And I thought it was a neat organization because basically it’s to benefit children in need.”

Much of the club’s efforts will be spent helping children directly in the Iowa City community.

“Essentially we’re going to host various activities, some with other clubs, some by ourselves to help benefit children,” Yuan said. The club is also thinking about teaming up with organizations such as the Red Cross and the homeless shelter.

Along with local activities, Yuan says the West High UNICEF chapter also wants to involve people in the community in larger fundraisers, such as “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.”

“We plan to go to elementary schools and educate them about UNICEF and give them trick-or-treat boxes … and let them raise awareness [about the organization] by bringing the boxes around during trick-or-treating,” he said.

UNICEF club has weekly meetings. Yuan says the purpose of these meetings is to provide a weekly update of the club’s plans.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t realize how big those problems are, so I feel like we should raise awareness and help them out.””

— Steven Yuan

“[They] aren’t very mandatory because most of our activities take place during the weekends,” Yuan said. “Since this is the first year of our club, we like to take input from everyone. Meetings are a place to brainstorm new ideas for fundraisers.”

Yuan believes it’s important to help those who may be in need, but also places importance on bringing awareness to the issue of poverty.

“There [are] a lot of underprivileged children in Iowa City and there [are] a lot of problems with poverty, homelessness and hunger in Iowa City,” he said. “I feel like a lot of people don’t realize how big those problems are, so I feel like we should raise awareness and help them out.”

The West High UNICEF chapter meets on Thursday mornings at 8:00 in room 126. To learn more about UNICEF, click here.